Made for professionals and consumers alike, the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 (64GB) is a stylish drive that puts sizeable storage and speedy performance in your pocket. The drive has a couple of odd design quirks, but if you want a quick drive that holds a ton, the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 is one of the better drives on the market.
Design and Features
Like the previous model, the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 Generation 2 (32GB), the new DataTraveler Ultimate features a ruggedized design that protects the high-speed, high-capacity drive with a chunky metal and plastic design. Unlike the previous iteration, which features a sturdy body and cap, the Ultimate 3.0 G3 goes capless with a sliding design and die cast metal endcaps. When the drive is locked in the closed position, the USB connector is safely protected from the elements. Slide it back to lock it in the open position, and the connector extends to plug into a USB port.
Our review unit of the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 offers 64GB of convenient storage capacity, but the drive is also available in 32GB and 128GB capacities. With USB 3.0 connectivity, the drive is compatible with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, and it’s also compatible with multiple operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux) thanks to FAT32 formatting.
Kingston touts the durability of the aluminum exterior, but the sliding design isn’t quite what it’s cracked up to be. The sliding mechanism, in fact, is the problem, because that sliding center portion isn’t aluminum, it’s plastic, introducing a big physical weakness right in the middle of the drive, exactly where you’ll want that ruggedness the most. When the drive is extended and plugged into a PC, the plastic center is safely covered. For a more impervious level of ruggedness, the Editors’ Choice LaCie XtremKey USB 3.0 (32GB) is hard to beat.
The design is blocky and a bit big at 2.7 by 0.9 by 0.5 inches (HWD), and it may obstruct neighboring ports when plugged in. That blocky design may also be uncomfortable in a pocket; the corners are rounded, but the edges on either end are not. The one other design quirk is the inclusion of a key ring attachment that looks like something off of a Kingston-branded Tiffany charm bracelet. The dangling charm is an odd choice, especially tacked onto the back end of an otherwise button-down design, but there it is nonetheless.
The 64GB DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 has a list price of $130, which works out to $2.03 per GB. The smaller 32GB variant sells for $68 (list), or a slightly more expensive $2.13 per GB, and the 128GB version ($220 list) is a bit more reasonable at $1.72 per GB. It is worth noting that these per-gigabyte prices are derived from the list prices even though the drives are frquently sold at steep discounts through most retailers. By comparison, the 64GB Editors’ Choice SanDisk Extreme 3.0 (64GB) sold for $2.34 per GB, and the previous DataTraveler Ultimate (32GB) sold for a steep $3.62 per GB. Kingston covers the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 with a five-year warranty.
In timed data transfer tests, the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 managed 105 MBps (read) and 72 MBps (write) when connected via USB 3.0. This puts it ahead of the rugged LaCie ExtremKey (101MBps read, 67MBps write) and miles ahead of the inexpensive Mushkin Ventura Plus (32GB) (36 MBps read, 30 MBps write), it does fall a bit behind the Editors’ Choice SanDisk Extreme 3.0 (110 MBps read, 105 MBps write) which tops the competition with very fast write speeds. Under USB 2.0, however, all of these drives become quite similar in performance, topping out the older, slower connection at around 30GBps in either direction (read or write).
In terms of performance and features, the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 is an excellent drive, with a price that’s not bad. Though it has a few glaring design problems–like a bulky design that is only half rugged, and a garish keyring attachment–it’s still a good drive. Though the SanDisk Extreme 3.0 remains our Editors’ Choice among high-capacity USB 3.0 drives, the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 is still a pretty good pick.
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||64 GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc